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            Long month. Very long.

            Edited highlights: captured by the Empire. Escaped the Empire. That incident ratcheted the price on my head up by a mere one thousand credits.

            Later: Accepted a job because the Spanner came off worst in a fight with an asteroid field and we were being offered a ship as payment for work that was merely almost suicidal – as opposed to our completely suicidal behavior of late.

            Travers had an outbreak of common sense at this point, and he chose to go his own way. I can’t say I miss him. His high-handedness was going to get everyone killed in short order. Good riddance, I say.

            Performed nigh-suicidal job – stealing an Imperial shuttle from a small outpost. Many dead Imperial bodies left behind. Price ratcheted up another couple thousand.

            Somehow obtained a Twi’lek crew member – gods save me.

            Got blamed for a ‘terrorist attack’ on space station around Praek 7 that killed a thousand civilians. Bounty takes a sudden jump.

            That last one pisses me off. The Praek system was sitting on the fence about its Imperial loyalties. Following the ‘cowardly Rebellion attack’ – which the Rebellion are most vehemently denying responsibility for – the Empire steamed in, saved the station from a decaying orbit and generally scattered goodwill all over the place. Practical upshot: the planet is now incontrovertibly loyal to the Empire. This is not the first world that has received the hearts-and-minds treatment. Far from it.

            Although the “Super Star Destroyer” was something new – and something guaranteed to keep honest smugglers awake at night. I’ve never seen a ship that big!

            Imperialism gives me such a headache. Although it’s great for business.


            The ship-of-the-week, Star Chaser - Duvessa liked the name and I was too tired to fight – is a sweet one. Hyperdrive so fast it can barely keep up with itself and old Star Destroyer ordinance in the gun ports. She can fight and she can run. Everything else is gravy. She proved the running part during a tangle with an Interdictor, yesterday. I look forward to punching holes in moons with her turbo lasers.

            All this chaos has provided some answers, too, as well as gray hairs.

We were starting to wonder why the Relentless was chasing us a third of the way across the galactic disk. We’re not that important – not by a long shot. It turns out that the commander of the Relentless - a man who I would consider somewhat charming if he wasn’t on the wrong side of the fight – is grandfather to Meric on the Iridium Rose. Combine that with the fact that the Rose is a bit of highly-classified shipbuilding stolen by Meric and company and things make a lot more sense. It seems that Zaraith – the Admiral commanding the Relentless – had personal as well as professional reasons for wanting to bag us.

            I wonder how he would feel if he knew Meric isn’t with us right now? Pretty damn foolish, I expect…


            Maybe he does know that. Oh, I don’t like the way that makes me feel. Because if he’s not chasing us for Meric, why is he chasing us? Oh damn…


            Calm down, woman. You’ve got enough things to think about, without conjuring up boogeymen, too.

            Duvessa’s living up to that glimmer of potential she showed a while back. She has to – she’s the XO now. Fortunately, that’s not too onerous a duty – yet – and I think the training that Valerian gave her has been paying off. I’m not too surprised – most intelligent, flighty types just need a focus and they’re good to go. Now, if I could get her to focus on these voodoo engines…

            I know Duvessa believes that she scored quite the deal demanding a significant percentage of the ‘Chaser from me, but I don’t think the poor girl has any clue about how criminals do business. If I had wanted this ship all to myself, I simply could have killed my idealistic companions and been on my way.


But I don’t see why I should carry one-hundred percent of the upkeep cost before this ship has proven to me that she won’t vomit her hyperdrive in the first week of operation. Ask me how I feel next month.




Oh, gods. Just when I think that Dev is showing an ounce of discipline, he blows it. I know he’s used to flying himself hither and yon, but when I’m at the conn, I’m in command, damn it.

If that ill-mannered whelp of a bantha tries to anticipate or contradict me one more time, he’s going to find himself off the bridge, permanently. If he even twitches in my direction, I’m going to break his interfering little fingers.


There was a small mercy – I suppose. Duvessa kept her mouth shut. I was afraid she would try to speak up on Dev’s behalf, but she hasn’t. Good. I don’t need a second who’s going to undermine me on the bridge, and she came damned close yesterday…

Where did I put that othlass? Ah, there we go…


            How in all the void did I end up with two aliens, an impatient flyboy, a smartmouthed soldier and teenager with Jedi-flavored delusions of grandeur? How?

            If I live through this, if I can find my family, I’m going to find the tamest planet on the Outer Rim, hustle Nina into a dark hole and pull it closed behind us. I don’t need this kind of grief.


            Ahh, I guess I’m just getting old - too old to try to break in a bunch of youngsters, and near-strangers to each other, to boot. Give me a crew of seasoned smugglers, anytime. At least they know the rules – what few there were…


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